“A talented woman was asked by a friend, ‘Why have you never written a book?’
‘I am writing two’ was the quiet reply. ‘I have been engaged on one for ten years, the other five.’
‘You surprise me!’ the friend said. ‘What profound works they must be!’
‘It doth not yet appear what they shall be,’ said the woman, ‘but when He makes up His jewels, my great ambition is to find them there.’
‘Yes, my two children. They are my life’s work.’
And so for Mother, we six were her life’s work. She asked for no other.”
– Elisabeth Elliot, The Shaping of a Christian Family, chapter 17: “A Mother is a Chalice”
This encourages me. It’s so easy to lose sight of the nature of our work as parents. Under all the piles of laundry, amidst the chaos of dinnertime, in bodies nourished by meals we’ve spent hours planning and preparing only to be seen devoured in 10 minutes (or rejected and not eaten), are the souls of our children, the core of our investment, the essence of our calling into motherhood. It isn’t noble in appearances, yet by the mystery of God’s kingdom, where the humble are great and the mighty are brought low, here we work. Wiping bums, vacuuming floors, cleaning up spills and bodily fluids, wearing our sweats and sneaking showers in like we sneak Oreos in the kitchen, we mothers and caregivers have a hand in the secret Kingdom work of the Lord. Let us, like Elisabeth Elliot’s mama, ask for no other. They are ours only for a short time.
Faith, Lord; give us faith.